Every September 4th he world celebrates World Sexual Health Day and despite us thinking it should be celebrated every day, we also recognize why having a dedicated day is so important – because all of this is still ‘taboo’ and hush hush on a personal scale all the way to the top players in the world. This year’s theme is consent. Here are some very important facts pulled from the World Association for Sexual Health fact sheet:
What is consent?
Consent is permission. No one can touch another person’s body without permission. All partners must give consent for any sexual activity.
Consent Isn’t Just About Sex
Consent is required before any sexual activity and in many non-sexual scenarios as well. You need consent for things like:
- Sharing food
- Touching any body part
- Exposing your genitals
- Taking or sharing sexual photos or videos
Understanding Consent: FRIES
A fun way to remember the different parts of consent is the acronym, FRIES.
- Freely and Willingly: It isn’t consent if there is pressure, manipulation, or influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Reversible: You can change your mind about sex at any time and remove consent. Even if it is your long-term partner, even if you already agreed, even if you’ve done it before, or even if you’re in the middle of sex.
- Informed: You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
- Enthusiastic: Sex is about doing things that you want to do, not things you have to do! Enthusiastic can mean the difference between an ‘okay’ or ‘I guess’ vs a ‘absolutely’ or ‘hell yes!’
- Specific: You must be specific about what you’re asking consent for. For example, saying yes to kissing does not mean someone has consented to penetrative sex. Agreeing to hang out at someone’s apartment doesn’t mean agreeing sex—even if it’s 3:00 am.
A Lifetime of Consent
Whether they’re 1 or 101, all people deserve bodily autonomy. Start talking about consent with young children and always keep it in mind. Consent is important at any age.
Want to test your knowledge on consent? Or maybe if you know the different between consent and coercion? You can check out more information on the WSHD 2023 website.